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The hidden dangers of old tyres

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It both saddened and worried me to hear about the Coroner’s report on the tragic accident which occurred on 10th September last year killing three people. The coach was travelling from Bestival, Isle of Wight when the vehicle veered up an embankment, drove through a fence and hit a tree on the A3 in Surrey.

Surrey Inquest Coroner, Richard Travers, recorded a verdict of accidental death however he said the "catastrophic failure" of an old tyre had caused the accident.

He is now to urge the Government to change legislation in relation to the age of tyres by writing a rule-43 report to draw attention to the Minister for Transport of the very dangers caused by the fact that vehicles, be they private, commercial or public, are legally able to drive on tyres without restriction on age. And by reason of age are potentially in a perilous condition which there is no realistic means of detecting.

It has since emerged that the tyre was older than the coach itself. Tyre expert David Price said several of the six tyres on the coach were old with one dating back to 2001 and the spare was 14 years old. Mr Price explained that the tyre that burst was identified as 19 and a half years old because it has a dot code giving the age.

"It is known that tyres deteriorate significantly with age," he said.

He said that manufacturers recommendations, which apply only to cars, say tyres should not be fitted if they are six years old and should replaced if they are 10 years old. He said that this was not a legal requirement and it did not apply to coaches or lorries.

As a mother of a music loving 18-year-old who would travel up and down the country on coaches to attend gigs, I know I for one would definitely support

Richard Travers in his campaign to urge the Government to change legislation.

By Sam Ord, from the personal injury team